It’s easy to love Yellowstone in the winter, with a dramatic, snow-covered experience worth bundling up for. And while many businesses in the park shut down for winter (a big benefit of staying at the Sacajawea!) you still have plenty to do with all the winter activities to choose from. So peer into the park, and take at look at these popular cold-weather options for exploring this country’s national treasure.
If winter in Montana sounds like your worst nightmare of cold, don’t worry. Bundle up in wool socks, down jacket, and cozy mittens, and then take a snowcoach tour. Since most roads in the park are open only to oversnow travel, this is the fastest (and warmest) way to explore Yellowstone in winter. See the vivid colors of Grand Prismatic with a backdrop of white, or watch Old Faithful’s eruption, and enjoy the warmth and comfort of watching the park pass by outside of the window.
Sure, snowcoaches may be enclosed, but snowmobiles boast heated seats and handlebars, with the added benefit of an adrenaline rush and an intimate way of experiencing the landscape. Get on board with local outfitters that offer snowmobile tours, and experience the lowest barrier to entry to get out there on the snow in Yellowstone.
Cross Country Ski
It doesn’t take a lot to head out with skis on your feet in Yellowstone, but it comes with the amazing benefit of quiet serenity in one of the busiest national parks. You can bring your own gear, or rent near the park, but either way you’ll be treated to the soft sound of snow squeaking under your skis and your own breathing as you move across the landscape. This gives you a great chance to spot winter wildlife, whether it’s an elk making its way over the snow-covered grass or a bison bending to drink from a spring.
Like skiing, you’re enjoying the quiet of the park when you're out on snowshoes, but with even less skill required. Just get shoes on your feet, and set out. If you’re wary of exploring winter wilderness solo, you can join on with a guide, or even take advantage of a ranger-led snowshoe walk offered by the National Park Service throughout the winter.
While most of the park’s services are closed up tight in winter, you can still find regular programs offered at several locations throughout the park. Rangers put on regular snowshoe walks from Mammoth Hot Springs and West Yellowstone throughout the winter, and you’ll find talks with a winter theme weekly at Mammoth, on everything about the park at Old Faithful, and a little something with teeth and claws at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone.
Photo or Wildlife Tour
In the calmer winter season, it can seem like you’re alone in the wilderness of Yellowstone. If you’re craving company and a little guidance on top of an exceptional experience, consider signing up for a photo or wildlife tour with a local outfitter. Go along with a guide to get the in-depth story of your surroundings, giving you insider knowledge on where to look and what you’re seeing when it comes to experiencing the park.
Now get outside, and see what all the fuss is about, with the benefit of quiet and calm for your Yellowstone experience. Happy adventuring!
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